This is how it goes--for me, anyway: You buy buttermilk for some recipe or another (in this case, chocolate zucchini bread), and you have almost an entire quart left with nothing to do, nowhere fancy to go--it’s just sitting there in the fridge, staring you in the face every time you open the door. As you do open the door, you can almost hear it saying, “Still here. Hello? I’m waiting. I’m aging as we speak. What are you going to do with me? You can’t let me go to waste, I’m only 1/2 cup short of a whole quart! Hello? Hellooooo???” Hiding it behind the other stuff doesn’t help much, either.
It tortures me, that silly tangy buttermilk. And then it hit me! An idea, not the buttermilk. Ice cream! I’ve seen it around the blogosphere. It intrigued me, for sure. All of the recipes I saw required some type of heating stuff up before you freeze it. Sigh. I’ll be the first to admit it, I can be supremely lazy--I want instant (or pretty close to it) gratification. It’s hard enough for me to let fresh homemade ice cream sit overnight before I dig in! I forged ahead and decided I didn’t really need to cook anything or make a custard. I hoped and prayed that my lack of patience wouldn't let me down. It didn’t! In fact, my 15 year old daughter said that this is her favorite of all of the ice creams I’ve made so far. How’s that for an endorsement?
Since I had a brand new jar of espresso powder that was also bugging me, I figured I’d use that, too, and make it happy. Tastes amazing with the sweet and tangy buttermilk ice cream, if I do say so. I also swirled a salted honey caramel into the ice cream, for good measure. As I was making the caramel (which means--I’d already started) I realized I didn’t have enough Golden Syrup. I could swear I did! You could use all corn syrup, if you like, which is what the original recipe calls for. The Golden Syrup filled my 1/3 cup measuring cup only halfway, so I improvised and filled it the rest of the way with honey. What’s one more experiment when you’re already in the middle of one? Worked perfectly, and the fresh taste of the honey shines right through!
Let’s get to the recipes:
Espresso Buttermilk Ice Cream with Salted Honey Caramel
adapted from Epicurious
makes approx 1 cup
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp golden syrup
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp honey
1/4 cup water
7 tablespoons heavy cream + 2 more to stir in later
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 generous pinches of kosher salt
piece of aluminum foil
Make the caramel:
Take a piece of aluminum foil, and shape it around the pan you'll be using. Using a knife, poke a hole large enough to pour cream through in the foil near the side of the pan. Why? Because after you've started, and you need to pour the cream into the boiling mixture, it'll steam and bubble up, and this way, it won't splash back on you. Remove the piece of foil until you need it.
In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, boil the sugar, golden syrup, honey, and water over medium heat--stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Boil the mixture, without stirring, gently swirling pan, until the color is a deep caramel (this took only about 5 minutes for me).
Remove the pan from heat, place the pan's foil hat back on, and carefully pour cream and vanilla down side of pan through that hole you made earlier. After a few seconds, remove the foil.
Return to the stove and simmer the mixture, stirring for a minute or so, until it's nice and velvety.
Remove pan from heat and cool for about a minute--then stir in the remaining 2 tbsp of cream and the salt--stir to mix thoroughly.
Let it cool, then store it in a container in the fridge until you need it.
You can make this up to one week ahead and store in the fridge. Bring to room temp before using.
Espresso Buttermilk Ice Cream
3/4 cups sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tbsp espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, whisk all of the ice cream ingredients until the sugar is dissolved. If it's nice and cold, proceed with freezing according to manufacturers instructions.
If it's not very cold, chill it in the fridge for a couple of hours, then go ahead and freeze it up in your ice cream maker.
After freezing, transfer the ice cream to a covered container and allow it to sit for about 4 hours or overnight.
Bring the caramel to room temp, and pour some over the ice cream. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the caramel into the ice cream. Use as much or as little of the caramel as you like.
My caramel was sinking to the bottom, but it was nothing that a few stirs of the ice cream couldn't fix. The ice cream itself sets up nicely, but still retains enough softness that stirring it around is actually pretty easy. Anyone know a fix for that?
- If you prefer, you can leave the caramel swirl out entirely and just use it as a topping. Or eat it by the spoonful. Not that I was doing that.
- The ice cream has a tangy taste from the buttermilk, but nothing overpowering.
- It’s deliciously creamy and rich on the tongue, and goes beautifully with the espresso and caramel.
- Make this ice cream and make your ignored buttermilk happy!